Remona Aly
Monday 11 July 2016 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

The Apple Tree

The Apple Tree, Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans Breakfast Show


Just outside my bedroom window is a thing of beauty, charm and romance. Sadly, it’s not a Romeo figure telling me ‘Tis the east and Remona is the sun’, but it is something a lot more grounded.  

Rooted firmly in our garden, with branches stretched out like open arms, stands an apple tree that is over a hundred years old. 

I’ve seen pictures of my dad in his bachelor days hanging upside down from it, aunties in silk saris posing amid its branches, and two generations later, my nieces run circles around it, their young giggles orbiting its wrinkled bark. 

This tree has seen my sister’s wedding, my father’s wake, and seen friends of all backgrounds share memories together beneath its lofty leaves. 

Every year without fail, our tree bows in humility under the weight of scores of apples.  

Our old neighbour used to make apple pies out of it, my mum makes her famous apple crumble, and our rubbish collectors even look forward to gleaning the fruit to give to their families and friends.

Once in the middle of the night, it was deadly quiet and deeply dark – but I was restless. I couldn’t sleep. I heard a gentle thud. One of the apples which was ripe and ready to part ways with the tree, had fallen onto the dewy grass. 

It struck me that no one else in the entire world, not one creature apart from me, the tree and God knew that that apple fell to the ground at that moment. It made me feel special, significant, and like I was in on a secret. 

There’s a quote in the Quran that says ‘Not a leaf falls without God’s knowledge ‘. That apple falling made me understand the simplicity and the magnitude of those words.

Every memory that tree has seen, every person that’s clambered up its branches, every apple crumble it’s made, it knows each one intimately, even though I too often take it all for granted. 

The tree reminds me of the seasons of life, and to appreciate every moment, rain or sun, fruits or none, until the day I fall like that apple in a gentle thud to the ground.